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Gone in 60 seconds: Papua New Guinea admits APEC Maseratis are missing

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Agence France-Presse

Several of the Maseratis bought for last year’s summit of Asia-Pacific leaders have gone missing, Papua New Guinea admitted Tuesday, as it launched a probe to track them down.

The government of the impoverished nation faced harsh criticism for high spending — including buying a fleet of sportscars which sell for around US$150,000 each — for the November APEC summit, but promised to recoup some of the cost by selling them on.

Now, police have admitted, they don’t know where the cars are.

“A police unit has been established in the National Capital District to commence the recovery of all states assets including vehicles purchased for the APEC meetings,” police said in a statement.

Police did not respond to repeated requests for details about how many cars were missing or who was suspected of taking them.

Critics had argued the money could have been better spent dealing with chronic social problems in a developing nation where diseases such as polio and TB have recently re-emerged.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s officials said the luxury cars were needed to keep up the prestige of the event.

During the summit they could be seen parked for days on end at a warehouse by the docks.

Police said they had a arrested a man who used APEC credentials to enter wharf and siphon fuel from the vehicles.